Bulgarian Naval Aviation
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Naval Aviation

Mi-14BT Haze serial 811 (photo via Chris Remy)

Current Title: Aviatzia Na Bulgarski Voennomorski Flot
Title in English: Bulgarian Naval Aviation
Abbreviation: AnBVMF


Narrative Summary:
In 1959 three Bulgarian Navy crews began training on two Mi-4M helicopters. A dedicated anti-submarine air squadron was established in October of the same year. Initially, it was subordinate to the Air Force, and based at Vrazhdebna airport near Sofia. On 5 May 1961 the squadron was transferred to Chaika airport and subordinated to the Navy. In 1979 the Mi-4s were replaced by Mi-14 helicopters. On In September 1990 the squadron was renamed to its present title.

Key Dates:
1959    Naval helicopter crews begin training on the Mi-4.
14 October 1959    Helicopter ASW Squadron was established.
5 May 1961    Helicopter ASW Squadron transferred to full Navy control.
September 1990    Naval aviation unit renamed to present title.

Current Status:
Bulgarian naval helicopters are used primarily for ASW and Search & Rescue (SAR) missions.

Future Plans:
Take delivery of six AS.565 Panther helicopters from France.


National Insignia:

            Main markingFin Flash
The main marking is displayed in three positions on helicopters: on the fuselage sides and under the fuselage. No fin flash is used. Recently overhauled Mi-14s carry an emblem, together with 'NAVY' and 'Voennomorski Sili' titles on both sides of the fuselage.

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):
Bulgarian naval helicopters use the same serialling system as the air force - a unique three figure number for each airframe.

Unit/Base Aircraft Code System(s):
Coding system not used


Aircraft Designation System(s):
None - Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Click on aircraft type for more details
Aircraft Type Total
Role Origin
Eurocopter AS.565MB Panther 6* - ASW/SAR France
Mil Mi-14BT Haze 2 1 Transport USSR
Mil Mi-14PL Haze 9 4 ASW/SAR USSR
* on order.

All-Time Aircraft Used List:
Click on aircraft type for more details
Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Retirement Origin
Eurocopter AS.565MB Panther 6* 2010 - France
Kamov Ka-25Tz, Hormone 1 1984 1991 USSR
Mil Mi-4A, Hound 2? 1965 1979 USSR
Mil Mi-4M, Hound 4? 1959 1979 USSR
Mil Mi-14BT, Haze 2 1979 current USSR
Mil Mi-14PL, Haze 9 1979 current USSR
* on order.

Aircraft NOT Used:
False reports of aircraft on order or in service - none known.


Main Headquarters:

Current Organisational Structure:
The Bulgarian naval air arm comprises one helicopter squadron. Initially called the OPLEV-VMF (Otdelna Protivolodachna Eskadrila na VMF - Independent ASW Squadron of the Navy), it was later renamed to its present title.

Current Order of Battle:
Click on unit title for more details
Squadron Type Base
Otdelna Morska Eskadrila Vertoleti* Mil-14PL/BT Tchaika
* = Independent Naval Helicopter Squadron

Historical Orders of Battle:
Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List:
Not applicable.

Pre-flight checks for a Mi-14PL
(photo, George Petkov)
Refuelling a Mi-14PL
(photo, George Petkov)
Side view of Mi-14PL Haze serial 809
(photo, George Petkov)
Another view of Mi-14PL serial 809
(photo, George Petkov)

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
All helicopters are operated from the naval base at Tchaika, on the east coast.

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
To be added

More Information


To be added


Air Forces Monthly May 1998
Air Forces Monthly January 2001
World Air Power Journal No.36


Bulgarian Military Page

Thanks to Constantine Pehlivanov & George Petkov for updating this information.

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First Created: 30 November 2001 - Last Revised: 22 June 2008
Copyright 2001 John Hayles.    e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk